Hallmarking in Jewellery
The subject of traditional “stamped” hallmarking jewellery has been covered a lot but little seems to have been written on the subject of the latest version of this – Laser Hallmarking. Laser hallmarking came to life in the UK back in 2006 at Sheffield’s Assay Office.
Very briefly and simply, for a piece of jewellery over a certain weight, a sample of the metal is tested, and if it passes the prescribed standard of purity, then it will be UK hallmarked – a requirement by UK law.
Finished silver goods (.925) over 7.8 grams, 1 gram of gold, 0.5 grams of platinum and 1 gram of palladium must bear a UK hallmark if sold in this country.
Any items less than the above weight levels may just be stamped for example 925 or 375 / 9ct etc. This should be taken as a guide to metal purity only. Some small items may even not be stamped at all. This does not necessarily mean that they are of poor quality or potentially fraudulent, only that marking the items does not fit in with the manufacturing schedule.
Lasermarking / Laser Hallmarking
As the name suggests, a hallmark is cut with a fine laser. It is ideal for delicate objects that could otherwise be damaged by traditional stamping methods. It can resemble a flat 2d – 2 dimensional shape as “outline laser” mark, but also in a 3d deeper version for more sturdy objects as “relief laser” which is similar to the good old stamp.
Being laser cut the markings are very precisely controlled and may also be of differing sizes. Ideal for unusually shaped pieces that “traditional stamps cannot reach” to paraphrase a German beer advert.
The 2d version can be a little difficult to see sometimes but holding it up in strong light is always helpful.
3D Laser Hallmark